Lawyers often subpoena physicians during divorce litigation to help the courts thoroughly examine the case’s issues. Whether the subpoena is for medical records or to testify, the use of physicians in a divorce or custody matter is a growing trend. In the Texas Medical Association article, Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Physicians Can Get Subpoenaed in Divorce Cases, by Joey Berlin, he interviews Houston divorce attorney and Myres & Associates firm owner, Susan Myres and Houston divorce attorney, Robert Hoffman to discuss the physician’s rights and gives advice should they receive a subpoena.
A Physician’s testimony can be used in cases involving children, where one or both parent’s mental or physical health is in question. In divorce cases involving children, a physician’s testimony or medical records may be used in situations that spousal abuse is at issue or where the health of one or both parents may affect the well-being of the child. In cases in which the parents disagree on medical care such as vaccinations, invasive medical procedures, treatment, and other medical decisions, an attorney or judge may use a physician as a “tiebreaker.”
Susan Myres adds, in her interview with Berlin:
There’s even a rising trend in divorces between elderly people, with “people that have been married 40 years coming into our offices going, ‘I am not dying next to him.’” She predicts that a particular wave of divorces will bring new challenges to the parties’ mental competence, which means how older patients present in their doctor’s office could become an issue in the courts.
In the Texas Medical Association article, Susan Myres helps address the uncertainties a physician may face if they are receiving a subpoena for the first time.